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03. Jonah Goes to Ninevah

Jonah 3:1  Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 
Jon 3:2  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 
Jon 3:3  So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. 
Jon 3:4  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Jon 3:5  And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 

The People of Nineveh Repent

Jon 3:6  The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 
Jon 3:7  And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 
Jon 3:8  but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 
Jon 3:9  Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” 
Jon 3:10  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. 

Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and was the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. It was the largest city in the world when Assyria was the regional power.

Jonah 3:4  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 

The Book of Jonah depicts Nineveh as a wicked city worthy of destruction. God sent Jonah to preach to the Ninevites of their coming destruction. This time Jonah obeyed God, despite his fear of the Assyrian people.

For thought: Whose opinion matters more in your life – the opinion of people or the opinion of God? 

Jon 3:5  And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 

And a miracle happened: the people of Nineveh fasted and repented because of Jonah’s preaching.

Fast: Jonah 3:7  “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water”. 

Sackcloth: (Hebrew שַׂק saq) is a coarsely woven fabric, usually made of goat's hair. It later came to mean also a garment made from such cloth, which was chiefly worn as a token of mourning.

For thought: How many times have we been tempted to think – “It will never happen”….”she will never change”…”it is no good speaking to him”….

Jonah 3:10  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. 

As a result of their repentance, God spared the city. This speaks to the nature of God: God allows us opportunity to learn from our mistakes and to change: This resonates with the New Testament:

1Jn 1:8  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 
1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

This is the good News of our faith – that God will forgive those who turn from their evil ways.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)